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Steamboat Magazine

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation Secures Their Forever Home

05/09/2024 07:00AM ● By Suzi Mitchell
(Photo: The meeting room in Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s new building, which opened downtown last fall. Courtesy of Trey Mullen.)

Steamboat Springs, CO - Decades of desk hopping and scrambling to find meeting space finally ceased for the team at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. In October 2023, the doors opened to their custom-built office on Fourth and Oak Streets in downtown Steamboat Springs.
The charitable organization, which was founded as the Yampa Valley Foundation in 1979, has morphed over the years to a fundamental entity in promoting philanthropy throughout Routt County. They are stewards for almost 200 funds including donor advised funds, scholarship funds, endowment funds, nonprofit agency funds and field of interest funds.
“Our work is primarily meeting based, and we wanted a comfortable place for people to come and talk about their passions and philanthropy,” says chief executive Tim Wohlgenant.
Former board member Barbara Winternitz and her husband Boyd Bass offered to donate the land, which led to serious discussions with donors and community stakeholders about pursuing the idea of building. The concept was met favorably, and a capital campaign ensued. Over $3 million was secured, with $2.7 million to cover construction and a further $400,000 for a building endowment fund.
A design build team of Mountain Architecture Design Group and Picking Contracting Inc. was formed with local developer and philanthropist Paul Brinkman as the owner’s representative serving on a pro bono basis. “I left my day-to-day job in 2017 and offering my service allows me to give back to non-profits,” he says.
“We wanted visibility, but we didn’t want the building to stand out and sustainability was a key factor,” Tim says. A 40% tax credit reinforced the decision to install a geothermal heating system, which was factored into the bones of the design.
“The Community Foundation is a tight knit organization and was committed to having all of their staff offices on the main level,” says Chancie Keenan, principal and architect. “We maximized the allowable square footage on the property and spent a lot of time arranging the main level spaces to achieve the most functional dynamic amongst staff.  I love that we were able to design pockets of open space within the building for impromptu collaborations, and avoid the long, dark hallway reminiscent of old office buildings.” 
A commissioned glass mural of aspen trees by Jennifer Baker makes a statement upon entry to the two-story property. Offices, a staff kitchen, and an airy conference room occupy the ground floor. Upstairs an events room flooded by natural light, two vacant offices and a kitchen are available for use by local non-profits, all of which have already served their purpose.
(A commissioned glass mural of aspen trees by Jennifer Baker. Courtesy of Trey Mullen.)


The inclusion of a traditional porch element adds a welcoming connection to the street, while extensive windowscapes bring a sense of place to the interior.  The interplay of horizontal lap siding with vertical metal siding on the exterior secured a tie into the character of the historic neighborhood, while adding a modern touch.
"We wanted to demonstrate that what we did could be done, and we plan to be here forever," Tim says.